Teenagers thought to be behind fire at derelict former Wigan pub
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Passing ambulance crews alerted firefighters to the fire at The Griffin when they noticed smoke coming from the building shortly after 6.05pm on Wednesday (April 1).
Fire crews from Wigan spent around two hours tackling the blaze which happened in an outhouse at the back of the derelict pub on Standishgate.
Some youths seen in the area at the time are believed to have started the fire which happened only a stone's throw away from The Whitesmiths Arms.
The pub has been empty for several years.
Carl Gleaves, watch manager, at Wigan station, said the fire could have been a lot worse.
He said: "We engaged with the police and the fire was called in by a passing ambulance.
"Fires are getting more well developed as you don't get normal passers-by alerting us at the moment because of the lockdown. So the ambulance pulled over and rang the incident in.
"The fire happened in the outhouse at the back of The Griffin. If ambulance crews hadn't alerted us, this fire could have been a lot worse and spread to the rest of the pub and other businesses nearby.
"We spent around two hours tackling the fire."
Mr Gleaves said three or four youths were seen in the area around the time of the fire. He said they are then believed to have left the scene, jumping over a couple of nearby walls.
He said: "We believe the fire was started deliberately by these youths as there is nothing to suggest this started naturally.
"There were some plastics seen in the area at the time of the fire.
"The fire has gutted the pub's outhouse and smoke logged the rest of the pub."
Mr Gleaves went onto warn parents to be responsible for their children and ensure that they're observing the coronavirus lockdown measures.
He said the fire meant that crews were unable to attend a large fire which broke out at the same time on Huyton Road, in Adlington.
He said: "We were unable to assist with this major fire because our crews were engaged dealing with the pub incident.
"Our message to parents would be take notice of where your children are as they shouldn't be gathering in groups like this.
"This shows a lack of repsonsiblity from parents in observing the lockdown measures.
"People setting fires deliberately is doing nothing more than take vital resources away from the fire service."
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